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Links do not open: This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer

When clicking on a hyperlink within an email I get the following error;
“This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.”

I am the administrator of this computer. How can I use these deactivated links again as currently links do not open at all?

This usually happens when there is no default Internet browser (properly) registered in Windows. It often happens after uninstalling the Google Chrome browser but there are also other instances for which this can happen.

In Outlook 2013, the error is:

Your organization’s policies are preventing us from completing this action for you. For more info, please contact your help desk.

Reassign a default browser in Windows

To recover, it often is enough to reassign a default browser via;

  • Windows 8
    Start-> type: Default Programs
    or
    Charms (Windows Logo key+C)-> Settings-> Control Panel-> Programs-> Default Programs
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7
    Start-> Default Programs
  • Windows XP
    Control Panel-> Set Program Access and Defaults

When you have multiple browsers installed, it sometimes helps to set the other browser as the default, apply the changes and then set your preferred browser as the default again.

If you only have a single Internet browser installed in Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can also deselect all the defaults for the browser by pressing “Choose defaults for this program”, save the changes and then select them all again.

Reset the browser

Depending on your Internet browser, you might additionally need to reset the browser. For Internet Explorer, this can be done in Control Panel-> Internet Options. When you use Internet Explorer 6 or lower, you’ll find this option on the Programs tab. For Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 or 10, you can find this option on the Advanced tab.

For Firefox, open a Run command and type the following (note the spaces);
firefox -safe-mode firefox-safe-mode

In the dialog that pops-up select the option “Reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults” and press “Make Changes and Restart”.

Registry fix

If resetting via the conventional means does not work out for you, then the issue is probably rooted a bit deeper and are the file associations and handlers not correctly registered in the registry or are conflicting. To resolve this, you can download this registry file.

This zip-file contains 3 files;

  • readme.txt                                      Some information over the zip-file itself
  • ie-fix-restrictions-Win32.reg           For when using a 32-bit version of Windows
  • ie-fix-restrictions-Win64.reg           For when using a 64-bit version of Windows

This registry file contains the minimal amount or registry entries needed for making Internet links open again with Internet Explorer. All these registry entries are original entries which are also there when you do a clean installation of Windows.
If found, it also removes some registry entries which could conflict with the original entries. These registry entries also do not exist when doing a clean installation of Windows.

Note 1: For importing this registry file you’ll need to have Administrator rights on the computer.

Note 2: The registry keys are based on a default installation of Windows on the C:\-drive. If you installed Windows to another drive letter or if you want to see what’s inside the reg-file before importing it, you can extract the zip-file and then open/edit it in Notepad by right clicking on the reg-file and choosing Edit.